Board tables plan to hire consultant

Trustees say they were unaware of contract offer for firm to develop business park
By 
DAN BENSON
Ozaukee Press Staff

A discussion on the merits of hiring a consultant to help Fredonia develop a business park hit a snag last week when most members of the Village Board said they had not been given information on the consultant’s proposal prior to the meeting.

The proposal from Newmark Knight Frank Real Estate Services (NKF) had been presented to the village Plan Commission but not distributed to other trustees.

According to the NKF proposal, the village “desires to create a tax increment finance district and develop their next business park, increasing their light industrial land inventory.”

Initially, NKF would research the availability and suitability of land around the village and eventually act as the village’s agent in selling parcels.

The village would pay NKF $75,000 as an advance on future sales.

“You’re going to do what? You’re going to knock on doors? Why can’t we do that?” Trustee Jill Bertram asked Curt Pitzen of  NKF.

“We’re hiring knowledge,” Trustee John Long said.

“I didn’t know you were engaging with someone. I thought it was just talk,” Bertram said.

Village President Don Dohrwardt said hiring NKF will keep trustees at arm’s length from any deal making. “It’s important that the board be separated from the purchase and negotiations for land,” he said.

Trustee Josh Haas said he was caught by surprise. “This is what really bothers me, is that no one has had any information on this until now,” he said.

The NKF proposal had been discussed by the Plan Commission, which recommended its approval. In the Village Board packet last week was the contract to be approved.

Trustees voted to table the issue and have the contract reviewed by the village attorney.

The primary focus of the search for land would be near the current business park on South Milwaukee Street.

Public Works Director Roger Strohm said other potential sites include land east of Highway 57 and land north of the Northern Ozaukee School District campus.

The money would be paid to NKF in installments over three phases of the program, with the village able to end the process at any of those points.

Those payments would apply to real estate commissions on the sale of properties.

Village Trustee Dan Gehrke balked at that provision.

“Normally, aren’t you paid after you make the sale, not before?” he asked.

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